5 Things You Should Not Do After a Car Accident

No one plans on being in a car crash, and yet 2.35 million people suffer injuries in car accidents in the United States every year. These crashes are common enough that there are protocols and emergency resources in place for those affected—drivers simply have to follow the right steps.

Knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what you should do after an accident. Avoid these errors, which can make it difficult or impossible to get compensation from the other party if they are at fault.

Waive Your Right to Medical Care

If a car accident appears to be minor, you might think about saving yourself the time and potential cost of an emergency room trip. However, it often takes days or even weeks for certain types of car accident injury symptoms to materialize. The human body often reacts to car accidents and other trauma with a rush of adrenaline, which temporarily masks pain. If you waive your right to seek medical care and problems turn up down the line, you may find it difficult to hold the other party accountable.

Leave the Scene

The hassle of calling the police, exchanging insurance information, and taking accident photos may seem like too much if the crash is minor and no one seems to be hurt. No matter how minor the accident seems to be, wait at the scene until emergency help arrives and you have exchanged information with the other driver. Otherwise, you could face charges for fleeing the scene of an accident.

Forget to Call 911

In situations where fault is unclear or one party is uninsured or underinsured, there may be pressure to avoid calling 911. It does not matter if the other person in the accident seems nice and you really believe that they will pay your repair costs without getting the police and insurance involved. Call 911 and report the accident. Failing to call the police forces you to give up one of your most valuable pieces of evidence: a police report. 

Lash Out

It is easy to lose your temper after an accident, even if no one is seriously injured. You may be flooded with adrenaline, thinking about what could have happened to your children in the backseat, or stressed out about the repair costs that could be coming your way. Remain calm when you speak to the other party. Anything perceived as road rage could land you a citation or arrest, complicating the accident further.

Admit Fault

Even if you believe you may have caused the accident, do not admit fault. Anything you say could turn up in a personal injury case against you or be used to weaken your claim with the insurance company. Make sure drivers in both vehicles are okay, but do not take any blame for the accident. It is up to the insurance adjusters to make that determination.

What You Should Do After a Car Accident

After you have reported the accident to the police, received any necessary medical care, and exchanged information with the other party, your next call should be to the Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson, Jr. Our team of South Carolina car accident lawyers will fight aggressively to get the compensation you deserve. Call our Rock Hill office at 803 324-7200 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

Additional Reading:

Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Doctor After a Car Accident

Seeking medical care is a top priority after a car accident. In addition to ensuring that you are safe after a physically traumatic event, medical care offers you tangible evidence of the car crash. This is essential if you plan on pursuing a personal injury claim or negotiating a settlement with the insurance company. Our South Carolina car accident lawyers have created a list of questions to ask your doctor after an accident. These questions will help you begin building your case.

How Long Will It Take to Recover?

Recovery is often a long and tumultuous process. Your doctor should be able to provide you with an estimate of how long it will take for you to make a full recovery. This information will help you prove that the accident negatively affected your life over a period of time.

Will I Be Able to Work During Recovery? If So, What Limitations Do I Have?

For many people, the biggest concern about recovery time is whether or not they can work. Lost income adds additional stress to an already-difficult time when you are expecting large medical bills. It is important to ask your doctor whether or not your injury will prevent you from working and if there are any limitations regarding your work. You may have to work shorter hours or take on less physically demanding tasks. Before you leave your appointment, ensure that you have the paperwork you need to request time off or receive accommodations from your employer.

What Are My Injuries? How Severe Are They?

When negotiating with the insurance company, you will need to provide them with a thorough account of your injuries, including where they are located and their severity. Your doctor should be willing to provide thorough documentation of your injuries that can be used as evidence in court. Hard evidence regarding your injuries is an essential tool for our South Carolina car accident lawyers as they negotiate a fair settlement with the other party’s insurance company.

What Caused My Injuries?

This is one of the most important questions to ask a doctor after a car accident. You already know that your injuries were caused by a car accident. However, insurance companies typically need this to be verified by a medical professional before they are willing to negotiate.

Your doctor can identify how specific injuries occurred. For example, they can document that you are suffering from a concussion due to hitting your head on the steering wheel. This expert opinion can help you obtain compensation from the other party’s insurance provider.

Will I Need Further Care Down the Line?

Even if the majority of your injuries heal fairly quickly, there may be lingering symptoms that require long-term treatment. Most severe injuries often require long-term care. As an example, victims who sustain traumatic brain injuries during car accidents may need periodic MRIs, around-the-clock nursing care or mood stabilizers for the rest of their lives.

Reach Out to Our South Carolina Car Accident Lawyers

The path to recovery may seem long, but working with experienced personal injury attorneys can limit your stress and allow you to focus on healing. Get your free case evaluation now—call the Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson Jr. in Rock Hill at (803) 324-7200 to get started.

Taking Legal Action Following an Uber Accident

The concept of ridesharing was meant to simplify travel in medium and large cities. While companies like Uber and Lyft succeed in making life easier for thousands of travelers each day, they present a unique problem when it comes to rideshare accidents.

If someone is injured by an Uber driver, then a series of circumstantial questions will determine who is considered at-fault. Rarely will this be the company itself, as both Uber and Lyft have gone to great lengths to protect themselves from legal action filed by disgruntled passengers and bystanders.

Employees vs. Independent Contractors

First and foremost, passengers should understand that Uber drivers are independent contractors. While they are paid by Uber for completing a certain amount of work, they are not considered employees. 

This means that Uber drivers typically make their own schedules, earn commission based on the number of rides completed and have the freedom to work other jobs if they choose.

It also means that Uber cannot be held accountable for driver mistakes in the same way a restaurant would be held accountable for an employee that served expired food. In the vast majority of rideshare accidents, fault is placed on the driver.

That said, there are extremely special circumstances in which Uber could be held responsible for the actions of an employee. You must be able to prove that Uber was negligent and that the company’s negligence led directly to the injury in question. 

For example, if Uber hired a convicted felon and that felon harmed a passenger, then a lawsuit could be filed against Uber to hold them responsible for the oversight. However, these cases are few and far between.

Insurance Policies and Protection

After being injured in a rideshare accident, you may just want to know whom to hold responsible for the bills that are piling up because of your injury. 

Assuming the responsible driver was active on the Uber application and carrying a passenger at the time of the accident, Uber offers a one million dollar liability policy.

If another non-Uber driver is responsible for the crash, then his/her personal insurance policy will be tapped first. Then, if that driver doesn’t have enough to cover medical bills, Uber has a one million dollar underinsured motorist policy that may be able to help.

However, if an Uber vehicle is being used for personal errands or has not been summoned for a ride, then the injured party will only have the driver to hold liable for the accident. 

Steps to Take Following an Accident

Should you be injured in an accident, your job is to prepare yourself for the possibility of legal action — whether you file against the driver or Uber itself. 

For this reason, there are a series of steps you should take immediately following an accident. These include:

  • Taking pictures of the wreck on a smartphone or other electronic device
  • Gathering the names and contact information of other passengers and/or witnesses
  • Taking screenshots of your Uber ride and receipt
  • Writing down the name and contact information of the involved Uber driver

Contact an Experienced Attorney for Assistance Following a Rideshare Accident

Have you or a loved one been injured in a ridesharing accident? The time has come to fight for the compensation you deserve. For assistance and representation, contact an experienced team of South Carolina rideshare accident lawyers at The Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson Jr. in Rock Hill, Fort Mill, Lancaster or Union by calling (803)-324-7200.

Additional Reading:

How Much to Expect from Car Accident Settlement

How Much to Expect from a Car Accident Settlement

This is the million-dollar question.  My most frequently asked question as a Personal Injury Attorney is “What is My Case Worth?”  And rightfully so.  Let’s face it, you are the victim of someone else’s negligence and you are forced to live with the consequences of someone else’s negligence daily.  You deserve to be fairly compensated for your injuries.  I want to be clear here that it is unethical for any attorney to talk to you and promise you a dollar amount for your case’s worth.  Every case is unique and must be considered on a case-to-case basis.

There are multiple variables which impact the outcome of how much to expect from a car accident settlement – for example, types of injuries, extent of medical care, length of recovery time, cost of medical bills, eyewitness testimony, opinion of medical experts, etc.….  What I can do, is talk to you about what you expect, compare previous settlement amounts for similar cases, and work with you to come up with a ballpark figure that you would like for me to fight for you to receive.  If anyone tries to tell you an exact dollar amount, please know that attorney is specializing in false promises.

Chained up money
A stack of currency chained together and padlocked. Used for any money inference where money is tight or protected.

Is there a Formula to Assess Case Worth?

The honest approach to assessing case worth is to utilize the following formula and to fight hard to try to reach the best results for a client: Liability + Damages + Ability to Pay.  I will spell out each step in this formula.

Liability: 

Who is at fault for the accident?  What did the other person do that was wrong?  If you are involved in an accident that is 100% the other party’s fault, the value of your case increases.  If the liability (or fault) is less than 100%, then your claim and the claim’s value decreases.

Should you pursue a claim if the accident was partially your fault?  The best answer, is talk to an experienced personal injury attorney during a free case evaluation.  Even if you are partially at fault for an accident, you could still receive some compensation under a personal injury claim.  Insurance companies will try to trick you into admitting some fault.  Claims adjusters are often trained in using questions that will make you guess at elements of the accident that you may not know or discuss injuries that are outside of your area of expertise.  You do not have to handle the insurance companies alone and you are not required to answer their questions right away.  Work with an experienced Personal Injury Attorney who can represent you when speaking with the insurance companies.

Damages:

The severity of your damages directly impacts the value of your personal injury case.  This makes sense – if you require more care to recover, this will be more expensive, and you should be compensated at a higher rate to cover the costs associated with your recovery.  Essentially, the law says that if you are injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, then you have the right to be put back into the same condition that you were in before the accident.  Conversely, if you were not injured, then you have incurred no losses, and you are unable to receive any personal injury compensation.

The cause of the damages is very important to your case.  Can we prove that your damages are directly linked to the accident?  This is why it is critical for you to receive medical care immediately after the accident; any delay in medical care or medical evaluation can make it more difficult to link causation to the accident.  If you have pre-existing injuries or medical conditions, this link can be even more difficult.  Insurance companies will try to say that you are blaming the accident on causing problems that already existed.  Again, if you’re in an accident, go to a medical professional right away.  This immediate medical evaluation can make or break your case.  I encourage you to go even if you do not notice pains right away, often the body starts to feel pain several hours or several days after an accident.

Here is a list of Types of Damages to consider for a Personal Injury case:

  • Medical Expenses – current and future
  • Lost Wages
  • Have the injuries caused inconvenience to you or your family?
  • Emotional Distress
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Disfigurement
  • Physical Impairment
  • Property Loss

Ability to Pay:

Can the person responsible pay for their negligence?  Unfortunately, there are many incidents where liability is clear and the damages are excessive but there is inadequate insurance to cover the costs.  Collecting money outside of an insurance policy is extremely difficult; realistically, the majority of uninsured or under-insured individuals do not have sufficient funds to cover the costs associated with a major accident.  If the person responsible is under-insured, you may be partially compensated.  If the person responsible is un-insured, you may not be compensated at all.  I encourage everyone to carry uninsured motorist insurance coverage.  This coverage protects you if you are injured by someone who is uninsured or under-insured.

If the person responsible does have adequate insurance, then there may be sufficient coverage to fight for fair compensation of your losses, injuries, and damages.  You will get the best results when you work with a Personal Injury Attorney who is adept at fighting the big insurance companies.

What to Expect from a Car Accident Settlement?

While I can’t answer the specific question, “What compensation can I get?” with an exact number, I can commit that our legal team will work to help you determine the types of monetary damages that you are entitled and that we will fight for your fair compensation.  When you hire the Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson Jr., our personal injury attorneys will initiate the investigative work immediately to help you get the most for your accident.  We will take on the insurance companies and take care of all the details (accident reports, surveillance videos, eyewitnesses, medical experts, etc.…) necessary to give you the best strategy for your case.

In a personal injury case, money should be awarded to the injured person by the person or company who is found to be legally responsible for the accident.  I promise that we will go to battle for your fair compensation and that you will not be charged until we win your case.  The insurance companies know our reputation, our law firm is committed to our clients, even taking several cases to the South Carolina Supreme Court.  We have a history of success at trial.

In conclusion, every case is unique and if you have any other questions about how much your personal injury case is worth, please contact us for a free consultation at www.fcwlaw.com or 803-324-7200.  The Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson Jr. – Big Enough to Fight, Small Enough to Care.